Faith in Faith Itself

“My daughter. She’s… something’s wrong with her. She’s has depression and a lot of anxiety.”

“So you’re saying, she’s anxious and depressed.”

“Not all of the time!”

“…”

“It doesn’t make sense. We love her. We’re trying to help. But nothing works. It’s getting worse and worse. We tried therapy, medication, more therapy. We got her involved in sports, taken her out of sports. We’re doing everything we can and still she’s- she’s…”

“Anxious and depressed?”

“Yes!”

“…”

“I’m just. It’s just. What do you want me to say?”

“Huh?”

“She’s sixteen. Who knows what’s happening in her head. And at school, with other sixteen year olds and facebook and horny boys and vicious girls. I know there’s a lot to be stressed about but it’s not normal, the way she’s behaving. She’ll just, shut down. Build a wall. You can’t get through to her. It’s so, so, frustrating.  We love her, why is she disappointing us?”

“…”

“What do you recommend I do?”

“Nothing.”

“Huh?”

“…”

“What are you talking about, nothing!? She’s suf-fer-ing.”

“It will get better.”

“But it’s only getting worse!”

“And then better. Always does.”

“Not if! Not unless…”

“She…”

“Don’t say it.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“Listen. I’m her mother and I hate to see her in pain. I just want it to stop. For her. Like when she’s sick. I take care of her. Make her cinnamon toast. Bring her water.”

“With mental illness, and, may I suggest, spiritual illness, there’s no analogy to toast and water. You can’t bring her anything that will make her feel better. The best you can do is let her be. Be-there for her. And if she doesn’t come don’t seek her out. At the very very most, you could, maybe, work on yourself.”

“Work on myself!”

“I’m just saying. When you get a throat ache, it’s not the throat’s fault. The entire body’s sick. Your daughter, in this analogy, is the throat. Right now, she’s getting a lot of attention, and is the one experiencing the most visible pain. But the entire body is sick.”

“What body?”

“Your family. Your home.”

“You sonnofa bitch! If I wanted a Freudian quack to default to blaming poor old ma and pa, I’d’ve gone elsewhere!”

“Fine, fine. Forget it.”

“…”

“But I stand by my main point. You cannot fix her. There is no solution. Any solution will just hurt her, more. When someone’s depressed, the last thing they need is a rational reason for why they shouldn’t be feeling depressed. Because when you say they shouldn’t be feeling that way, you invalidate what they are feeling. But a feeling- no matter how irrational- is as real as rain. Who cares if it’s ridiculous, dangerous, or self-destructive. The fact is it is being felt. It has its own truth that no amount of love or reason or medicine can negate. Just let her suffer. It will make something of her.”

“You’ve obviously never had children.”

“Huh?”

“It’s easy to say: let her suffer. If you have never had any children of your own. Try some time. Bring life into the world and watch it grow. Then tell me how easy it is to let her suffer needlessly.”

“What suffering isn’t needless?”

“Huh?”

“Nevermind. I am not a father. But it’s for you to decide whether or not my advice is valid. You came to me.”

“It depends on your advice.”

“Again. I recommend you do nothing.”

“Absolute shit advice.”

“(sigh)”

“Why did I think you could help? They say such good things about you on TV.”

“I think I should take my own advice, and not give any.”

[But the author would like to share his own advice, or rather, the words of another…]

“But the truth is that my work- I was going to say my mission- is to shatter the faith of womyn here, there, and everywhere, faith in affirmation, faith in negation, and faith in abstention from faith, and this for the sake of faith in faith itself; it is to war against all those who submit, whether it be to Catholicism, or to rationalism, or to agnosticism; it is to make all womyn live the life of inquietude and passionate desire” ­–Miguel de Unamuno, Tragic Sense of Life

  1. #1 by Workplace Wonders: "Where your life intersects with the workplace." on December 10, 2012 - 2:56 pm

    I feel like I have had this exact conversation several times.

  2. #2 by Gopher Padfoot on December 11, 2012 - 4:17 pm

    Dude, that’s terrific. I mean, not the conversation itself- it’s frustrating, for both parties involved. But the fact that this is not unique to me (and my imagination) is cool. Hope to talk to you sometime about the details. Or you could post them here.

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